Memorial Day and Veterans Day are just two times each year when we look back and remember the lives of fallen servicemen and women. Not only is it important to honor their service, it’s also important to think about the mental health of the veterans and active duty service members in your life.
Here are a few important resources and free programs available to support your loved ones.
Military Crisis Line
Perhaps the most important resource, the Military/Veteran Crisis Line was developed for veterans and other service members who require immediate assistance and counselling. The moment you call, a trained responder will answer and is available to chat about whatever your issue may be. After your support chat, your responder will also put you in touch with local resources to continue care. This crisis line is available for active duty servicemembers, veterans and their families 24/7 for all different emergencies. You can call at 1-800-263-8255, and press Option 1.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Website
Another important mental health resource is located on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. The V.A. site contains an entire page dedicated to mental health, with specific sections on a variety of topics such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, and more. Each section provides specific resources on how to schedule a mental health appointment based on your situation.
Military OneSource is another 24/7 call line for active duty military, veterans, and their families. While this service doesn’t handle healthcare emergencies, their website does include a comprehensive page of mental health resources and programs for important issues such as sexual assault, domestic abuse, substance abuse disorders, PTSD, and traumatic brain injuries.
AARP Caregiving Guides
If you would like a localized resource, AARP offers free Family Caregiving Guides for each state containing links to various programs and organizations across a variety of services including health, financial and legal assistance. It can be challenging to assume the role of a caregiver. No matter your place in the caregiving journey, having these resources will make it easier. You can access each guide online by state or request a print copy by calling the toll-free AARP Family Caregiving Resource Line at 877-333-5885 and indicating which state(s) you would like to receive. A copy will be mailed to you.
AARP thanks all members of the military for their years of service to our country. We are here to support veterans and their families through any challenges they may face. For more information and resources, please visit aarp.org/veterans
Suzanne LaFollette-Black has been a gerontologist for the past 35+ years. She is the AARP NC Associate State Director of Advocacy and Community Outreach. Suzanne’s career has been in the aging network as a non-profit nursing home administrator, Area Agency on Aging Director, Executive Director of Moore County Department of Aging. Suzanne is originally from Window Rock, Arizona (Navajo Indian reservation). Suzanne has a BS in Sociology and minor in Zoology/ Music from NAU and graduate studies at USC Ethel Andrus Percy Gerontology program and MASA from University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. She served as the NCAOA (NC Association on Aging, Inc.) President from 2018-2020; Rotary; NCIOM Deaf and Hearing committee; Governor’s Highway Safety Executive Committee; and other community organizations.
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